As a part time graduate student in the LIS field, I am very glad to have this opportunity to attend the 72nd IFLA in Korea. I am not alone, there were over 50 people joined this tour included Library Association of the R.O.C.(Taiwan) and 13 students from National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Library & Information Studies, Professor Chao-Chen, Chen led my classmates and I to IFLA.
This is the second time I traveled to Korea, Seoul was really a big city and their government also provided full support to this international conference. Both of my classmates and I learned a lot from this journey. During this trip, I not only joined the seminars but also took city and library tours, below are my IFLA and Seoul experiences.
Location – 72nd IFLA was hold in COEX Convention and Exhibition Center. It’s really a big place with good formulation, the office buildings, hotels and shopping mall are all around, below those buildings, the underground space was very huge, the first weekend during IFLA, there were Chinese called “people mountain people sea” there (meaning : huge crowds of people), although IFLA had thousands of participants, but it’s not easy to meet each other.
Seminars – The story of a flash flood ripped through Manoa Valley on October 30, 2004 and annihilated the ground floor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Hamilton Library astonished me. They showed me many pictures and told me how they saved their maps collection and how to ask for help and support from government, this true story reminded me that maybe libraries should do something to prevent from this kind of natural disasters.
Poster Session – I saw the poster of “The Winner of Best Poster Session Award 2006”, the topic is “A Study on the Use of Public Libraries by the Homeless People in Taipei” by Ms Sheue-Fang Song and Ms Hui-Tzu Hung, Ms Hung observed and interviewed the homeless people and also indicated that National Taichung Library provided a shower room for homeless people, this facility was very useful to them. This study gave me a new vision about how to handle homeless people problems.
Library tours – I visited The National Library of Korea, it has a collection totaling 6 million volumes and their digital library is still under construction. I liked one of it’s service, the reader can reserved books via internet, then system will deliver the books to the box in floor one, and when the reader off duty, they can use their library card to check out those books.
City tours – Professor Chen led us to the Gyeongbok Palace, The National Palace Museum, Cheonggyecheon (a brook in the Seoul), Cheong Wa Dae(the executive office of their President), Gyeongbok Palace was established in 1395, the Korean preserved their heritage very well.They did a good job in mix of contemporary and. classic styling in their city.
Most impressed – The Opening Ceremony and Minister's Gala Reception were very cool, thousands of librarians came from more than 100 countries sit together and had dinner together, I am very impressed.
Most valued – It’s friendship, I acquainted many friends there, they came from Japan, Korea, Germany, and that’s why I have the chance to write this report. The years rolled by, but the friendship will still exist.
Most marvelous - I was very impressed by the Cultural Evening, when bus took us to the Sejong Centre, the traffic polices blocked all the cars on the high way, just let our bus passed by, I felt so honor, and no doubt, the show was spectacular.
Most delicious - Kimchi was everywhere, and it was very delicious. But not everyone loved this food.
PS:This article will also be published in SET Bulletin January 2007